Teen Expo, sleepover on tap at Palo Alto JCC

Talk about youth empowerment.

Thanks to first-of-its-kind programming at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto scheduled for next weekend, teens pretty much will have the run of the place for about 18 hours.

It starts with an Aug. 27 sleepover called “Teen Takeover Night” and will be followed the next day by a Teen Expo from 11 a.m to 2 p.m.

“I’ve been here about a year,” said Noya Adler-Abramitzky, teen coordinator for OFJCC, “and I was thinking about … what kind of purpose do we have [in the teen department]? And I realized, there are so many different things happening in the Jewish community for teens. I’d bet people don’t know about half of them. I want this to be the place people get their information from.”

The free expo, for teens in sixth grade and above (and their parents), will include teen organizations from throughout the Bay Area. Group directors, current teen participants and alumni will be on hand to discuss what the different organizations offer.

The lineup will include information about local youth groups, community service groups, mitzvah projects, the Maccabi Games, sports in general, religious schools, classes, gap year programs and Israel advocacy.

Twenty-minute roundtables with representatives from different groups will provide an in-depth look at some of the options. But Adler-Abramitzky hopes to make the day fun, as well, with sports, games and chances to win prizes. Also, a stage will be open for any teens who want to perform (those interested need to contact Adler-Abramitzky ahead of time).

Teens in eighth grade and above are invited to get the party started at 8 p.m. the night before, when the OFJCC will shut down its fitness center for the night and turn much of that area over to the teens. Activities will include swimming, basketball, dodgeball and volleyball, as well as music and a movie. Snacks, pizza and soft drinks will be provided.

“We do hope they’ll go to sleep at some point,” Adler-Abramitzky said with a laugh.

Breakfast also will be provided. Pick-up time is 11 a.m. the next morning, so arriving parents can gather their sleepy teens and then stay on for the expo.

“The whole purpose of this place is to be a real center,” Adler-Abramitzky said. “Everyone here is excited about [this event] — and any chance to bring people together.”

The “Teen Takeover Night” will cost $55 for members and $70 for others, while the Teen Expo is free. The Oshman Family JCC is located at 3921 Fabian Way in Palo Alto. For more information, visit www.paloaltojcc.org or call (650) 223-8649.

Emma Silvers

Emma Silvers is a former J. staff writer.